Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Review: The Magicians
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I want to give this book 3.5 stars. I really liked if, but there wasn't really anything new here. Yes it's adult Harry Potter and yes it combines with adult Chronicles of Narnia too. This is the story of a boy who doesn't find out he's magical till he's about ready to go to college, he actually starts this magical college before his Senior years of HS is even over. There he learns all about magic, he's actually so good at it he gets advanced a whole extra year ahead. His Magical schooling only takes 5 years and it's dangerous and hard. After graduation he (and his friends) find out that a children's book about "Fillory" is actually real and a place he can travel to.
So I really enjoyed the story, even though little of the concept is original. I liked how magic school was sort of breezed through, it didn't take 5 books to go through all 5 years of his schooling. I liked that it never even really explored the magic they were learning, we didn't have to be pulling into different languages or spells, we only hear about them theoretically- very much like how the characters learn about them. The relationships are more adult, but still pretty juvenile. Yes, there's sex at this magic school, it's almost encouraged- at least in their final year. There's so much more acceptance of darker magic at this school, they teach it but don't necessarily practice it. Then once their time is up they graduate and find out that a childhood fantasy book is actually real. I enjoyed the battles, I enjoyed the relationships and the ending was okay with me.
Everything in "Fillory" reminded me Chronicles of Narnia. I feel like he was almost hitting us over the head with how much "Fillory" was like Narnia. The students entire journey in "Fillory" could have almost been another Narnia story- yah it was much bloodier and gorier but if the characters in Narnia had been adults you could see this happening. I think what made me give it half a star less was that it just lacked so much originality, I think it would have been better if I couldn't draw so many parallels to other fantasy works before this one. I know that's a lot to ask, but I was hoping for something different.
That being said, I really did like it and found the resolutions satisfying. I'll probably read the sequel, mostly because I already won a copy of it, but this probably isn't a world I'd want to follow for a whole series, one or two books yes, but I'm not in love with it like the world was in love with the Harry Potter books or that children love the Narnia stories.
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